Playoff shirts go on sale at NOON CDT. Buy them in store at Tree and Leaf or online. Don’t miss out on the movement.
Jason Quick of the Oregonian with an interesting note about the last play: “From there, the Blazers hung on, throwing a surprise at the Thunder for the game’s most important possession. With the score 90-87, the Thunder had the ball with 12.8 seconds left. The Blazers knew Kevin Durant would attempt a three-pointer, but instead of putting Batum on Durant, the Blazers used 6-foot-11 Camby to force Durant to shoot over his long arms. “We had been saving that,” McMillan said with a smile. “We didn’t know when we would use it, but we thought we would at some point because Marcus moves his feet so well and he is tough to shoot over.”
Ric Bucher with a tremendous piece on Russell Westbrook: “But Thunder GM Sam Presti flew down to LA for a second look five days before the draft, showing up 30 minutes before the scheduled workout. Westbrook’s agent, Thad Foucher, arrived a few minutes later. Together, Foucher and Presti called Westbrook. He answered as he stepped out of a car 20 yards in front of them. “This,” says Presti, “was our type of guy.”
You’ve got to appreciate KD’s tweet following a tough loss: “Feel like I was jus in a 12 round fight.sleep is gonna be great tonight. thank God for givin me the chance to go out there n hoop. win or lose.”
Ezra Caraeff of Portland Roundball Society: “Deciphering the NBA playoff tiebreakers is like trying to figure out the rules of Fantastic Mr. Fox’s whackbat (“Basically, there’s three grabbers, three taggers, five twig runners…”). But following an impressive 92-87 victory over Oklahoma City in the Thunder Dome Ford Center, the Blazers now hold a decisive tiebreaker (at least for a few more days) against the Thunder.”
Ben of Blazersedge: “Andre Miller came out of the gate looking to physically and mentally punish Russell Westbrook. Taking the promising youngster into the post and off the dribble, Miller unveiled the whole arsenal in accounting for Portland’s first 11 points through his scoring and assisting. Oklahoma City’s offense couldn’t keep up, plagued by missed jumpers and turnovers and generally looking out of sync.”
Also, on Blazeredge, everyone knows it’s kind of the gold standard in team blogging, and they were rewarded with an awesome piece by the local news on the site. And as I watched it, it made me appreciate the strong community we’ve built here. It’s not to the size of Blazeredge, but it’s strong, active and most importantly, passionate. So thank you guys. (Attention local news: I’m available for interviews anywhere from 5-6 PM on weekdays. Ahem.)
Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook breaks down OKC’s final play again. Excellent stuff here.
John Rohde on last night’s game: “The Thunder had just 13 assists, a tell-tale sign a team is not moving the ball. Brooks noted his team’s poor spacing offensively. “We were playing too much one-on-one,” Brooks said. No argument here. The Thunder was a half-step off, particularly at the outset, trailing by 10 early in the second quarter. With the playoffs approaching, this is no time for poor timing.”
KD is second in NBA.com’s Race to the MVP: “Sometimes less can be more: Durant blows up for 45 against San Antonio and the Thunder lose. He downshifts to 25 in 31 minutes two nights later, taking just 18 shots with four rebounds and three assists and his club cruises over Houston. It was the flip side of MVP worthiness, where a star player acts as lubricant (season-high 30 assists for OKC, 23 points by James Harden, 19 from Jeff Green).”
Magic Number Watch: Despite last night’s loss, the number drops to four for Memphis and three for Houston. Can you taste the postseason? I can.